Süwag Energie AG is a regional energy service provider with 1700 employees and a large service area encompassing four states within Germany. Süwag had the goal of launching an e-scooter sharing service in their home city of Frankfurt and chose to rely on Wunder Mobility to provide their software. With the help of Wunder Fleet technology, it only took a few short weeks for their first rider to be able to book one of their e-scooters and get cruising.
We sat down with David Wiethoff, Head of Marketing at Süwag, to find out more about why an energy service provider would go into the e-scooter business, the role his company plays in the modern mobility revolution and why the expression “sharing is caring” is still relevant today.
1) Tell us a little bit about Süwag as a company. What do you do?
Süwag is a regional energy service provider with its headquarters in Frankfurt and locations in four other German states. We supply electricity and natural gas to roughly 800,000 customers. It’s our goal to make life easier for our customers and people living in the areas we serve.
2) But you also offer e-scooter sharing services, right? How did you come up with that idea?
To be honest, it wasn’t a carefully planned out ordeal. We were originally just on the lookout for a strategic partnership because we wanted to learn more about vehicle sharing and how it works - but then our partnership ended up not working out, so we decided to go our own way. We’re always interested in new learning opportunities.
3) Why is it important for energy providers to help shape the future of mobility?
Our vision is to deliver an excellent quality of life for each region we serve. That’s what we strive for, and that’s the foundation for all decisions we make as a company. It’s incredibly important for us to take part in shaping the future of mobility and test out new ideas. Mobility - particularly sustainable mobility - is a really exciting field at the moment. Everyone’s just starting to test out the waters and lot of innovative industry players are involved. We want to understand what moves people. We want to help them make their lives easier and improve their quality of life through the reduction of CO2 emissions.
We’re defining the added value that energy services bring to the table. It’s particularly important for us to have a sustainable and recoverable business, which often means showing our customers that we use resources responsibly and can be an example for them. That’s also a reason why we’re regularly certified. We’re excited about the progress that has been made in the world of e-mobility in the past couple of years, so we knew that our Frank-e fleet had to be 100% battery powered before we even started.
We’ve come to learn that with vehicle sharing, nothing is impossible.
4) Why did you decide on Wunder Fleet and what was the process like?
After I got in contact with Wunder, the whole process moved forward very quickly. Everybody in the Wunder team was extremely helpful and incredibly goal-oriented. We had a very tight schedule and wanted to go from 0 to 100 in just three months - and we did it, together. We think that’s pretty cool!
5) You’ve been on the market for seven weeks now. What’s your take on vehicle sharing thus far?
We’ve come to learn that with vehicle sharing, nothing is impossible. There were some experiences we would have really rather avoided, but that’s all just a part of the learning process. Everybody who has anything to do with Frank-e believes in the potential and the vision of the company, and a big part of that is just having fun with it. We “built” everything ourselves, from design to marketing to sales, which means that things are always changing and that really keeps us motivated.
6) What do you think needs to change in order for mobility to become cleaner, safer and more attractive?
We believe in the expression “sharing is caring”. We’re not necessarily talking about using mobility solutions, either, but rather connecting all types of technology and services in a unified way. Only so many services should be available as people will actually use. Otherwise, we’ll see a flood of vehicles and users will be overwhelmed, not to mention less likely to accept new mobility types. In our opinion, different providers should come together and choose to work on the same problems. That’s how different solutions can work together seamlessly and without getting in each others’ way. If we as providers can manage to get along and come to a mutual understanding about what needs to be done, the mobility of the future will be cleaner, safer and more attractive for everybody.